PRACTICE takes place at the Cowdenbeath Racewall on Saturday August 8 for Formula IIs, Saloons and Stock Rods but it is behind closed doors, writes our Racewall scribe Jim Turner as some sort of action gets closer.

This session is for Formula IIs, Saloons and Stock Rods only.

Drivers must be booked in, have received confirmation of their booking and payment is by card only.

However, please check the Racewall website before turning up.

Jim this week spoke to a young driver who described his progress in the sport as 'an apprenticeship'.

“I suppose like a lot of stock car drivers I served a sort of apprenticeship in the Ministox at the Cowdenbeath Racewall and I really enjoyed my time there,” Dunfermline’s Kieran Howie told me.

“We used to go to the Racewall to watch and when my dad asked me if I would like to race one I said 'yes' without any hesitation. I got my first Ministox when I was eleven and raced at the holiday meeting in January. I did alright and thought it was great! Mind you when the season started I was soon involved in the action and was caught up in a heavy shunt. That was when I learned that hitting the wall wasn’t the best idea.”

“Whilst you learn a lot about racing the step up to a senior formula can be quite daunting. When I left the Minis I was going to be helping my brother Aaron, who was going to drive the car. In practice he was involved in a heavy crash and that put him off so instead of helping I ended up in a Formula II! "The car had been a shale car and we converted it to a tarmac one. It took us quite a while to get it ready and after almost a year we debuted the car on a Wednesday night at the Knockhill Trioval. I got on alright but when we headed to the Racewall on the Saturday night the steering broke and I crashed into the wall. ”

He added: “I did quite well during my early outings in a Formula II although I had switched from front wheel to rear wheel drive and racing in the opposite direction. The following year I managed to score my first ever win – it was in a Whites and Yellows heat and whilst it doesn’t count as an official win a win is still a win. I felt great after my win and my dad was even seen running down the pits to congratulate me with a smile on his face!

"I was really looking forward to the World Final weekend in 2014 – what a crowd there was and there were big fields of cars on all three days! The weekend turned out to be one of my worst and over the three days I think I clocked up 13 laps! I was caught up in a shunt nearly every time I was out so what was a big occasion turned out to be flat for me! However I did enjoy watching the World Final, it was a great spectacle to watch. We were probably getting to the stage where we couldn’t get much more out of the chassis that we had and during the 2016 season we started to look at what was on offer. The one thing that I noticed is that I seem to end up with better results when it is wet.

“Amongst the cars up for sale was Stevie Forster’s TLF chassis and decided that that was going to be the one that we decided upon. We got the car during the close season and had to do a few alterations to it before it was ready to be painted and sign written. When we got it back and got it ready it was almost the end of March before I made it onto the track.

“The car was certainly different to my other car but I soon used to its peculiarities and managed to get it running as I wanted. We had refreshed the engine over the close season and were picking up a lot of good results during the early part of the season.”

Kieran is now a fully qualified motor mechanic at Ian Brown’s Garage in Dunfermline and has just recently become an MOT tester.

“My first big challenge was the World Championship Qualifying Round and whilst it didn’t go as well as planned we were still quite pleased with our overall performance.

"When the Scottish Championship came along I was quite confident and not long after the race started I took the lead. I held it for a few laps but then there was a race suspension after a crash and that allowed the other drivers to close up onto my back bumper. A race suspension is the curse for the lower grade drivers especially if they had built up a lead. Once this flag appears the other drivers can close up onto your back bumper. And any advantage that you had managed to build up has gone.

"I now had the star drivers right on my back bumper and whilst I led on the restart I was soon moved over allowing the pack to stream through. I did manage to get back in line and pick up a few places before ending the race in ninth place. However, after the 'Scottish' I picked up a second and a third in the heats which followed. I got my first win on 13th May.

“I moved up from the yellow to the blue grade in June and it is always a boost to your confidence to be up graded although it means you start further back the order and it takes longer to get to through into the lead.

“In August I had a night’s racing to remember with a win and two second places. I stayed in the blue grade for most of the season and it was quite difficult. If there weren’t too many blue grade drivers you would get swamped by the star drivers early but if you could start at the front of the blue grade and there were quite a few of them you could make an early break. I was fairly consistent over the season.”

Reflecting he said: “The end of the season wasn’t all that good for me. At the last weekend I was involved in a shunt and as a result ended up crashing into one of the marker tyres. The chassis took a heavy contact and that caused quite a bit of damage.

"With the substantial rule changes coming into play for the new season and the chassis requiring straightening we sent the car back to TLF to be updated.

“Over the close season we refreshed the engine and when the chassis was returned it had been straightened and brought up to the 2018 specification. The car looked really good although we now had to use a “van” tyre on the outside rear wheel.

“I had a problematic season suffering from a whole series of engine problems and as a result it took a longer than expected to get the car's handling sorted out. As a result by the time we managed to get everything sorted I had dropped down to the yellow grade.

“There were another set of rule changes, namely fitting steel plates around the drivers cab as a health and safety issue with a rev limiter added to the Two-Litre Pinto to make it comparable to the Zetec engine.

“It turned out to be quite a disappointing season. The car didn’t come back from TLF until the summer time so basically I only had half a season's racing. When I did get back onto the track the car went well and I was picking up some good results. Then the dreaded engine problems set in again. Between then and the end of the season we tried everything but just couldn’t get it to run properly for any length of time!”

Looking ahead Kieran said: “My car is ready for action for this year, whenever that happens.

"The engine has been rebuilt so hopefully it will run trouble free this season. My aim is to get back up to the blue grade and be consistent/ my mechanics are basically my dad, my brother Aaron and myself. "I get sponsorship from Paul at TLF, Ian Brown's Garage, Larkin Services and Trevor Harris Paver Hire. Brae Coachworks in Dunfermline sprayed my car whilst Ross Montignani does my sign writing.

*The Formula II World Champion Gordon Moodie (Windygates) made the trek to Skegness for the meeting on Saturday night and went on to dominate.

Moodie went through to win his heat and then in a high speed final drove through the field to make it a double success.

In the Saloons Barry Russell (Brechin) picked up a second and a tenth in his heats but wasn’t classified in the final whilst Ross Watters (Buckhaven) only managed an eighth place in one of his heats.